April 21, 2009 (PAP Newswire) — Serving as a possible strong
counter-argument to the theory that online gambling harms society by
creating an easier venue for gambling and therefore causes more
problematic behavior than its land-based counterpart, a report issued
by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) states that the online version actually poses a “smaller risk of addiction”.
The study was detailed in an article published over the weekend in The Harvard Crimson,
the daily newspaper serving the Ivy League school. The study found that
online gamblers were “more likely to self-regulate their betting
behavior based on their pattern of wins and losses”.
“Those who are addicted to gambling do not exhibit such control,” the article added.
The study took place over the space of two years, studying almost 3,500 gamers playing at bwin. The study analyzed players’ outcomes and tallied the number of chips bought and sold per session.
“The study, which investigated online gambling as ‘a potential object
of addictive behavior,’ concluded that the availability of Internet
gambling is not correlated to gambling addiction,” wrote Laura M. Fontanills in the article.
“The very first thing we learned, which we didn’t expect, was that the
vast majority, the overwhelming majority, of gamblers online gamble in
a very moderate and mild way,” HMS Associate Professor of Psychology Howard Shaffer was quoted in the article.
The report went on to point out that some 5 percent of the studied players did not show such moderation.
The article also quoted the executive director of Harvard Law School’s Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, Andrew M. Woods, as stating that the results were not surprising, since poker is more
like “risk assessment” than it is traditional gambling.
Coming from such a highly respectred source, the study could prove to
be a valuable tool in legal efforts to regulate and fully legalize
online poker in the United States and abroad.